Well, the new year is upon us, and while it’s natural to cast our minds ahead to the endless possibilities that 2016 might hold, I would like to take one final moment to look back and thank some very special people.
As regular readers of Pop! Goes The Reader will know, over the course of the last month thirty-one wonderful authors have been kind enough to welcome us into their homes, their hearts, and their holidays both past and present. ‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a feature that has always been very near and dear to my heart but the quality of this year’s posts, coupled with the humbling and overwhelming interest shown by participants and readers alike, exceeded even my wildest expectations.
With close to 11,000 views over the course of the series, I’m so touched that readers were willing to make ‘Tis The Season even a small part of their holiday tradition. I have treasured every comment, every tweet, every email and every message I’ve received about this feature and your continued support and readership mean the world to me. Thank you. So much. I can’t wait to do it all again in December 2016! Until then, I wish all of you a safe, healthy, and happy 2016. Here’s hoping it’s better and brighter than ever before!
Missed a post? Want to read it all again from the beginning? I’ve got you covered. You can find a complete list of 2015’s ‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays participants and their entries below!
November 30: Julie Murphy
“Today, I get to define the holidays in the ways that make me most happy. It’s something I wish I’d caught onto way before working a crappy minimum job at the mall, but sometimes you’ve got to take the scenic route.”
December 01: Kim Savage
“For me, the holiday season is the ultimate time for reflection. On what I meant to do this year (start book three) and didn’t (beyond plotting, anyway). What I’ve done right (got book two to the line-edits stage), and wrong (ate and drank myself to death).”
December 02: Amy Spalding
“So, friends, I hope your holidays are wonderful, but I also promise you that they don’t have to be. There’s no pressure! Have the best time, or don’t, and either way, we’ll muddle through. Somehow.”
December 03: Ashley Herring Blake
“So I don’t know what Christmas is all about. But I do know there’s something hidden in between all the unknown meanings and that something is enough for me. A thread from one heart that is looking for more to another. And maybe that is what Christmas means to me this year. The possibility of more. Of unity. Of happiness.
The possibility of magic.”
December 04: Darcy Woods
“Sometimes in life, we have to listen past the imperfect notes (or words or actions) to appreciate the transcendent melody that joins us all.
So what does the holiday season mean to me? Quite simply this:
Find the song in your heart…and sing it.”
December 05: Emily France
“I didn’t understand this Adult Holiday Sadness at all. Why so blue? I loved heading to my grandparents’ house, dancing to those 1940s Big Band songs with my grandfather, careening down a hill on an old-fashioned sled. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?”
December 06: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
“Yes, Santa has always been very good to me. But my family was so much better. They made Christmas special. They made it magical.
They still do.”
December 07: Melanie Conklin
“In our house, when the holidays arrive so do the cookies! It’s pretty common to relate holidays with food — after all, holidays are a time to gather with family and share a meal. We do that too, but we also bake a ridiculous amount of cookies. It’s a ritual that takes weeks, like some kind of annual meditation.”
December 08: Heidi Heilig
“A few years ago, I moved from Hawaii to New York, and though the streets in the big city are more slushy than muggy at New Year, there are still hungry lions in Chinatown. I go to watch them dance every year, and stuff myself silly on noodles while firecrackers scatter the evil spirits. And when my son is old enough, I’ll put a dollar in his hand and carry him to the front of the crowd. I want him to grow up knowing that even when it’s scary, you have to feed the lions.”
December 09: Lindsay Eagar
“Christmas is love.
And who is love for? Everyone.
Who is Christmas for? Whoever wants it.”
December 10: Janet Sumner Johnson
“What does the holiday season mean to me?
It means smiles and joy. Warmth filling my home and my heart. It means forgetting myself and hatching secretive plans to make others happy. It means a world that is a little softer and a little kinder. The kind of world we should strive for year round.”
December 11: Claire Legrand
“As Clara and her prince whirl across my television screen, I arrange my collection of nutcrackers around the house, hang my Clara ornament on the tree, and once again feel what I did as a kid: With Tchaikovsky’s sparkling music filling the air, anything is possible.”
December 12: Sarah Glenn Marsh
“While my holiday traditions have merged with my husband’s, I can safely say I love my new traditions all the more because he’s part of them, and because they reflect how our family has grown over the years. Maybe that’s part of the holidays’ magic, too — helping me embrace changes, at least the good kind. As long as Christmas continues to be a time when the whole family comes together, it will remain my favorite time of year!”
December 13: Katherine Locke
“Celebrating Christmas has not made me less Jewish. For me, it’s a connection to my mom, my grandmother, and to the idea that wherever we are, we can make a home. That rededication of a space isn’t enough, but that it’s the people you bring with you to rededicate. To say, at the end of this year, I am a person of faith, and I am a member of this family, and on both sides of my family, faith informed how we came to this country, how we lived, and how we built a community.”
December 14: Janet B. Taylor
“There is such an urgency to it all now, that it seems like maybe we’ve lost something along the way. That maybe we’re starting to miss what’s really important about this season.
Hope. Love. Generosity. Spending time with family and friends over a cup of spiced cider instead of at the mall. I don’t know if things are better now. But they’re definitely faster and infinitely more complex.
But sometimes, I have to admit I miss those easy, uncomplicated days of tinsel and tacky parades and waking up to the cardboard smell of an Easy Bake oven.”
December 15: Gail Nall
“If you’ve got more than you can handle this holiday season, here’s my virtual hug to you. Do what you need to do, whether that’s putting up every decoration you ever bought, or choosing to sit this one out. You know what’s best for you.”
December 16: Shannon M. Parker
“It is within these layered moments of holiday joy and reflection that I can faintly experience the bigness of my oldest son’s heart.
How he creates joy.
And it is this kindness — this goodness that my son spreads without hesitation or prejudice — that is the true miracle of all of our seasons.”
December 17: Kerry Winfrey
“That’s just life. Change happens and time marches forward. But in Sitcomland, nothing ever changes. The Tanners are always stuck in that airport. Fred is always visited by the Christmas ghosts. And Will Smith always decorates the Banks mansion in a gloriously overdone fashion. It never changes and it’s always perfect.”
December 18: Susan Adrian
“The Nutcracker is mine again. This year, for the first time in decades, I have listened to the Nutcracker music on purpose, with absolute joy. My Nutcracker collection is out loud and proud on the sideboard. I feel like it’s okay again to feel all those deep feelings I have for the show, for the memories. For all of it.”
December 19: Morgan Matson
“For me, a huge part of Christmas has always meant movies. The holiday means much more than that, of course – Christmas is family and spending time together and eating delicious things and sitting around for hours in your pajamas in front of a fire with a mug of tea and the great new book that was in your stocking. Christmas is twinkle lights and finding someone just the right gift and baking cookies and Christmas dinner and coming home.
But also, it’s about movies.”
December 20: Kathryn Holmes
“This year, we brought home Shrugbert the Fifth. His branches hold the memories Justin and I are making together. A Murano glass star, bought in Venice on our honeymoon. Hand-crocheted “K” and “J” hearts a friend gave us. Wall-E and Eve, purchased on an anniversary trip to Disney World. An olive-wood angel from our visit to Israel in 2013. Superman soaring and Han Solo shooting Greedo in the Cantina — Justin’s Hallmark picks. Beaded snowflakes and flying reindeer — Mine.
The newest addition is a Star of David tree-topper my mom picked out. With the menorah behind him in the windowsill and the glowing blue-and-white star perched on his head, Shrugbert feels every bit ours. It’s not a perfect representation of everything the season means to us, not yet…but it’s a start.”
December 21: Jennifer Maschari
“I was brought back to those Christmases so many years ago. So many things have changed since then. It’s nice to have one thing that hasn’t.
Mechanical Santa runs on batteries, sure. But maybe, also, a little bit of Christmas magic.”
December 22: Anna-Marie McLemore
“Now, the winter solstice is a sign of another season the Transboy and I will spend together. And when I see the pink sparkle tree glittering in our living room, I remember that on the first day of winter, my mother bought one of the small things that would lead to my husband becoming part of the family I grew up in. Him welcoming that fuchsia tinsel tree into our apartment helped open the door to my family welcoming him. And because of that, the little pink tree’s light reaches further than anyone can see.”
December 23: Kristin Rae
“Sometimes I’m surprised by what gets a tear out of my eye. A commercial, a smile from my daughter, a beautiful melody with a touching lyric, even the ending of a predictable Hallmark movie — it’s all fair game. But there’s something about the Christmas season that amps up the feels.”
December 24: Nicole Castroman
“I love the Christmas season. Love. It. For me, it’s magical. There’s anticipation in the air, an excitement, and I want to soak it all in…In December, it’s dreamlike. Cue the wood smoke coming from chimneys, the chilly bite in the air, (depending where you live), the decorations lighting up the yards in the neighborhood. It makes me happy, and I want to share that with others.”
December 25: Marcy Beller Paul
“Christmas was the Superbowl. Hannukah was a regular season NBA game. And let’s face it, no one’s getting together and making chili to watch the Knicks on a weeknight. Basically, it became pretty clear that the calendar was working against me.”
December 26: Brooks Benjamin
“So, no. I may not have that traditional sixth sense.
But that’s okay.
The one I have in place of it serves me well. It keeps me tethered to the past in the most wonderful way.”
December 27: Lori Goldstein
“I was five when I discovered Santa wasn’t real. My sister didn’t tell me. Neither did a friend or a snotty older cousin. My parents didn’t tell me either.
My parents showed me.”
December 28: Chase Night
“Three years ago today, I handed my cousin and life-long best friend the ring that made him a married man.
It’s a small holiday, tucked in between two big ones. One of those unassuming dates that means nothing in particular to anyone but those who have chosen to make it mean something special to them. And to be honest, I thought my cousin and his bride were a little crazy to pick this day out of all the available unassuming days in the year. In retrospect, I think it was a very clever way of making sure their reception was filled with beautiful twinkle lights they weren’t responsible for hanging.”
December 30: Ami Allen-Vath
“So whatever you do on New Year’s Eve and wherever you are when the clock strikes 12, Cheers to you! Enjoy ringing in 2016 however you want and with no silly expectations. Listen To Madonna! Go To Sleep! Get Kissed! Yawn. Don’t Kiss Anyone! Dance Alone! Be Naked! Read Something Great! Write Something Great!”
December 31: Marisa Reichardt
“Why didn’t we meet until now?
It’s because we weren’t supposed to.
And so many years later, we have New Year’s Eve. We have family. We have this. We have that.
We have us.”